Testing continued at Jerez again on Thursday, with mixture of MotoGP, Moto2 and WSBK machines all sharing the track, together with something of a hybrid, Aprilia running its RSV4 World Superbike machine at the circuit fitted with Bridgestone tires and carbon brakes. With Randy de Puniet now aboard - and inching ever closer to agreeing a contract to race the Aprilia for Aspar in MotoGP - the Aprilia was the fastest bike on track, posting a time of 1'41.5, which is within striking distance of the factory prototypes from Honda, Yamaha and Ducati. The bike is being run out of the Aspar garage, where the Aprilia test team is working closely with Aspar personnel to help gather data from the bike using MotoGP brakes and tires.
De Puniet on the Aprilia was not the only impressive CRT machine. Colin Edwards made a huge leap forward on the Suter BMW, improving his time by well over a second and going faster than the Moto2 machines at last. MotoGP reporter Azi Farni posted on Twitter that Edwards was pleasantly surprised by the bike, saying it was better than he thought. Edwards praised the potential, saying the bike was only "at 65%," adding "the other 35% is mostly electronics." Edwards has now finished testing, and is heading home again, to continue recovery after the surgery to fix his shoulder. Edwards' father posted on Facebook that the Texan was riding at about "60/70%" because of the injuries. There is clearly still a lot of work left to do, but progress is clearly being made.
Progress was also being made on the FTR Kawasaki to be raced by the BQR team. Both Ivan Silva and Yonny Hernandez improved their times by over a second from Wednesday, Silva posting a 1'43.5 and Hernandez a 1'44.0. That is still some way off the times set during qualifying for the MotoGP race earlier this season, but improvements are being made. According to MotoWorld, the BQR team have dropped their plans to race the Inmotec, as the 1000cc version of the engine would not be ready until the middle of the coming season, and so BQR will field two FTR Kawasakis.
Scott Redding was once again fastest of the Moto2 machines, leading a gaggle of Kalexes, though without much improvement of times from yesterday. Redding was faster than the Pons bikes of Pol Espargaro and Tito Rabat, while his Marc VDS Racing teammate Mika Kallio was 4th fastest of the Moto2 riders. Bradley Smith cut the gap to Redding from over a second to just seven tenths as work continued on the Tech 3 machine, while a bike problem limited Gino Rea's track time to just 20 laps all day.
The BMW World Superbike squad and Ducati MotoGP test team were also out on track, but no times were available for either of them. Carlos Checa has now finished testing the Desmosedici GP Zero, and flies to Moscow to take part in a press conference presenting the Russian round of WSBK, as well as the new branding for the series. The lack of times for the BMW World Superbike team are probably down to the fact that both Marco Melandri and Leon Haslam have spent time testing two different electronics systems, the system campaigned so far and developed in-house by BMW, or the Magneti Marelli electronics which have become the de facto industry standard. No decision has been made as yet, apparently, and BMW head to Portimao for another test, along with the Suzuki and Aprilia World Superbike teams. A decision will have to be made after that.
One more day of testing remains, but numbers will be fewer on Friday, as several teams and riders have already packed up and left the circuit.
Unofficial times, expertly collected and courtesy of MotoWorld.es:
|1||Randy de Puniet||Aprilia||SBK Bridgestone||1:41.5|
|10||Alex De Angelis||Suter||Moto2||1:43.9||2.4||0.1|
2011 MotoGP Pole: Casey Stoner, 1'38.757
2011 Moto2 Pole: Stefan Bradl, 1'42.706